Despite the long history of arts in Sedona and the Verde Valley and the dozens of art galleries, the Verde Valley does not yet have an art museum. One group of artists plans to change that and has created momentum to make it happen soon.
The Sedona Art Museum, a recently created 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is set to move into a temporary location, or preview museum, at the Old Marketplace in West Sedona. Property owner John D. Miller has given the Sedona Art Museum Exploratory Committee two months to raise funds and renovate three vacant suites along the central courtyard, according to John Warren Oakes, chairman of the committee and a master signature artist charter member of the Sedona Area Guild of Artists. Miller has offered the group an incubation period of six months rent free with an option to renew, Oakes said. The museum group will still have to pay utilities and triple net fees — real estate taxes, building insurance and maintenance — which Oakes estimates at about $2,500 per month.
“I didn’t say it didn’t cost us anything. It’s rent-free but we have to pick up the utilities and operational expenses,” Oakes said. “That’s about the cost to open the doors.” This is not Oakes’ first foray into running an art museum. Oakes trained in arts administration at Harvard University, was an art professor at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Ky., for 46 years and was gallery director of the university art museum for 20 years. He worked as assistant dean at WKU’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Studies for 10 years, responsible for 13 departments and four buildings. Aside from the museum, he also ran a concert series.
For the full story, see the Wednesday, March 13, edition of The Camp Verde Journal or the Cottonwood Journal Extra.